Wade and MZM Inc., the defense firm he founded, have agreed to pay a $1 million civil fine for "funneling $78,000 in corporate contributions to two federal candidates," the FEC said in a statement released today.
Goode and former Rep. Katherine Harris (R-Fla.) were the recipients of those illegal donations. Both Republicans denied any wrongdoing, and neither has been charged in the case.
"Mr. Wade used MZM corporate funds to reimburse employees and their spouses for contributions to the campaign committees of Representatives Virgil Goode and Katherine Harris," the FEC said. Richard Berglund, an MZM manager "assisted in the scheme by receiving cash from Wade from which Berglund made a contribution under his and his wife’s name and then distributed the remaining cash to other employees of MZM, and in some cases their spouses, to make contributions. In total, Mitchell Wade and MZM reimbursed, directly and indirectly, $78,000 in contributions to two federal candidates."
According the FEC, "The Commission found no evidence that either Goode for Congress or Friends of Katherine Harris knew that the contributions were illegal, and both committees have either refunded or disgorged all MZM-related contributions."
Wade pleaded guilty last year to multiple corruption charges for being part of the Cunningham bribery scheme, and he testified in the ongoing bribery trial of Brent Wilkes, another California defense contractor accused of paying of Cunningham in return for federal contracts. Wilkes has denied the charges.
Berglund has pleaded guilty to illegally making contributions in the name of another person and will pay a $42,000 civil fine.